The Unitarian – September 22, 2017

The Unitarian – September 22, 2017 (pdf)

Sunday Worship — September 24

Acceptance — Rev. David Bryce
At its best, life is full of joy and happiness. But we also know that sorrow and sadness are inevitable. Some will suffer illness; we will lose loved ones, and we ourselves will pass away. We cannot predict whether or when particular sorrows will enter into our lives. Ultimately, we have the choice to mourn, to rage or to accept.

Prelude: Allein Gott in der Höh’ sei Ehr’ by J.S. Bach (1685 –1750); Simon Andrews, organ

Prayer: Hineni (“Here I Stand”), The Cantor’s Prayer; Chuck Claus, cantor

9 a.m. Offertory: Chant de Paix by Jean Langlais (1907-91); Simon Andrews, organ

11 a.m. Senior Choir Offertory: Avinu Malkeynu; music by Max Janowski

A prayer to God for mercy, and peace in the New Year.
     This week’s offering will benefit the UU Urban Ministry

Postlude: All Glory Be To God On High by Michael Burkhardt (b. 1957); Simon Andrews, organ

The flowers on the Chancel table this Sunday are given by Harold Michlewitz as a “welcome home” to Aaron Michlewitz and Maria Puopolo as they return from their honeymoon in France and Italy this month.

Reflections from Rev. David Bryce, Senior MinisterDavid

The other night I watched the first episode of Ken Burns’ new ten-part series “Vietnam”. I was reminded of how traumatic that war was for America, how traumatic those times were. And I was reminded that history is prelude to the present.

Watching the program I was saddened by the misdeeds of all sides (the French, the Viet Minh, the South Vietnamese government and also our own government under many administrations). Though there were good intentions on the part of many, there were bad behaviors on the part of almost everyone.

So much of the antipathy towards government that so many Americans feel today dates back to those times, to the miscalculations and lies.

As the Bible says, the sins of the parent do pass on to the children.

I do not mean that in the sense it is often taken (I am not a believer in Original Sin and I have difficulty with the concept of Sin capital S) but the fact is that what happens in any given time does have effects that are lasting.

The divisions raised up by the war in Vietnam and by the social changes of the 1960’s and 1970’s continue to reverberate. The same social and cultural debates continue, but now with decades of anger behind them — like a family in which old hurts, though unstated, are present in current arguments.

So much of who we are today, so many of our political clashes, are anchored in sins of the past. Slavery, segregation, discrimination against and assumptions about women and racial, religious and sexual minorities.

Much also comes from past theological disputes about the nature of human beings.

Are human beings essentially sinful? If so, then — though there may be some few “worthy poor — their failure to succeed economically or socially is their own fault and they will take advantage of social spending, will become dependent upon welfare programs and will abuse affirmative action programs.

If people are, on the other hand, essentially good and creative, then their failure to thrive within a particular society is due to systemic problems, is due to economic or social barriers which must then be torn down.

May we strive to overcome the sins of the past, to heal the wounds that still exist, to heal the breach between people and government and between groups of people within our nation and within our world.

And may we do our best to avoid actions which will then reverberate into the future, condemning our children and grandchildren to ongoing conflict that was not of their making.

May we seek to be sinless that our children may live in a better world.

Chalice Lighting Sign Up

We invite all members of the church community to light the chalice, both in groups and as individuals.

While children are welcome to light the chalice, we also invite individual adults, couples, friends, or families with adult children.

Chalice lighting practice tips and practice sessions are available upon request. Please contact for information. Sign up online at

Bangsokol: Using the Arts and Cultural Renewal to Rebuild a Fractured Society — Saturday, September 23 in the Parish Hall

Please join us for a special event with Arn CHORN-POND, renowned human rights activist, musician and child survivor of the Cambodian genocide, who became a US refugee, before founding Cambodian Living Arts and non-profits serving the Cambodian community in Lowell.

Arn will share his experiences and stories of survival, endurance and hope, and perform some Cambodian flute and song along with Cambodian singer THORN Seyma.

We will also introduce Bangsokol: A Requiem of Cambodia, an important multi-media piece being performed at ArtsEmerson in Boston this December. Bangsokol addresses the power of music and art to heal a post-conflict society. Light refreshments will be served.

Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia is a groundbreaking new composition fusing music, voice, film and movement; and the first major symphonic work addressing the traumas of the late 1970s in Cambodia.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Meetings And Resolution: October 1 and October 15

On Sunday, October 15 at 12:30 (after the 11:00 a.m. service) there will be a Special Meeting of First Church members to vote on a resolution on fossil fuel divestment sponsored by FCB Green. This meeting is a follow-up to the congregational vote regarding divestment in general, which passed at the Annual Meeting.

Please mark your calendars for this Special Meeting and also for an information session on Sunday, October 1 at 10:15 a.m. (between the services).

To read the resolution and to acquire background information on this church’s or the UUA’s fossil fuel divestment, see the FCB Green committee page on the First Church website ( The resolution’s wording was vetted by the Parish Board and the Finance Committee.

Season Tickets For The 2017-2018 Second Friday Coffeehouse Are Now Available!

Only $119 gets you admission for TWO to all of our Friday night concerts. You can pay by cash (no pennies, please), check or credit card! Come visit us at our table in the Gathering Hall after services and we’ll set you up with your very own, fancy-shmancy season ticket. Don’t delay, act today!

Return of Hootenanny starting September 27!!

Time to shake the summer dust off your guitar/ mandolin/ fiddle/ lute/ lyre/ harmonica/ jawharp/ spoons and jam with Jon Svetkey, Heather Quay and Jeff Isen. We try our best to focus on easy to learn/play folk, pop, rock, country, sea chanties, etc. All levels welcome! Wednesday September 27, 7:30 – 9 p.m.-ish, in the Parlor.

Adult Programs News

Call the church office with questions about adult programs: 617-484-1054, ext. 10. The fall brochure is online.

A New Group is Forming!
SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) — Joslyne Decker
1st Tuesday of every month, 6:30 – 9 p.m., Parlor
Last year Joslyne Decker facilitated a small group at First Church called Reflecting on Racism. The group had many meaningful, intense, and inspiring conversations. Over the summer Joslyne was able to attend a week-long professional development training to enhance her ability to facilitate groups around diversity and inclusion: SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity).

The National SEED Project is a peer-led program that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward greater equity and diversity. She is excited to bring a SEED group to First Church!

A SEED group is not a lecture series. Instead, the facilitation task is to help us reflect on our own experiences with community, diversity, and connection through experiential, interactive activities as well as conversations often stimulated by films and readings. SEED equips us to connect our lives to one another and to society at large by acknowledging systems of oppression, power, and privilege — and challenges us to push for change. The group will explore topics such as gender, race, class, and ability.

Joslyne will be facilitating the seminars on the first Tuesday of every month from 6:30 – 9 p.m. in the parlor, beginning on October 3rd. A light dinner will be provided. Registration and regular attendance is required. If you are interested, please contact Joslyne Decker ( by September 29, as space is limited.

2017 UUA General Assembly Report
Sunday, September 24, 12:30 p.m., Library
The General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association where attendees worship, witness, sing, learn, connect, and make policy through the democratic process.

“Resist and Rejoice” in New Orleans was a really powerful experience. The combination of the extraordinary events within our own denomination and the focus of the upheavals in our society combined to encourage honest discussion about the issue of white supremacy. Adult Programs Director, Lillian Anderson, Music Director, Ian Garvie, and Youth Director, Sana Saeed, as well as youth group member Cam Anderson will share their impressions.

Here are some links from the GA Website to inspire you –

One of the important issues discussed at GA was the Sanctuary Movement. We will have a special presentation by Alfredo Garcia, a Master of Divinity student at Harvard Divinity School. He will speak about the context in which undocumented immigrants find themselves.

First Church Book Group — Karl Klasson & Anne Stuart
Wednesday, September 27, 7:30 p.m., Library
In September, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, we will be reading her classic, Sense and Sensibility, which tells the story of two sisters and their very different approaches to love and marriage.

The Book Group is always open to new members. There is no long term commitment. Feel free to join us for a single evening’s discussion or to become a regular participant. We ask only that you confirm your intention to attend on a particular evening by the Monday before each session. Please contact Anne Stuart at or Karl Klasson at to confirm attendance if you are interested in participating or have any questions.

Women’s Potluck Supper
Friday, September 29, 7 p.m., Upper Hall
All women are invited to share food, friendship and fun as we come together once again to connect and re-connect. Bring an appetizer, main dish, salad or dessert AND a beverage to share. No RSVP necessary. And bring your friends too!

“Spiritual Audacity” — Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom
Sunday, October 1, 12:30 p.m., Library
Through study and spiritual curiosity, mystic and theologian Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom unearthed disciplines in his journey from wealth and power to wisdom and purpose. With humor and grace, Sherblom elucidates the six principles: Resilience, Surrender, Gratitude, Generosity, Mystery, and Awakening.
Refreshments. Books will be available for purchase.

Men’s Support Group — Will Cordis and Joe Weiss
Sunday, Oct. 1, 4 p.m., Conference Room
This diverse men’s group welcomes both new and recent members as well as those who wanted to, but never joined, such a group. We share personal and professional concerns, aspirations, and experiences along with some community service activities. Meets 1st and 3rd Sundays from 4 – 5:30 p.m. Contact for more information or to participate.

Caring for Older Adults — Miriam Baker and Deborah Blumberg
Note: New day of the week. Changed from Thursdays to Tuesdays!
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
Many people are juggling jobs, families and their parents’ or other family members’ increasing medical needs, frequent emergencies and ongoing need for care. How do we cope with the needs of our loved ones and find some balance in our own lives? What do we need to learn as we take on this task? How do we find information and community? If you find yourself in this position, you are welcome at this group for discussion and support. This is a drop-in group so please attend when it is convenient for you.

Fiber Arts Fellowship — Eva Patalas
1st and 3rd Thursdays, 8 p.m., Location TBD
Enjoy the fun and fellowship of crafting with a genial group on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month. If you knit, crochet, quilt, bead or dabble in other low-mess crafts, please come join us. Projects could include creating items for non-profit organizations such as Caps for Kids, making small gifts for the Holiday Fair or working on personal projects. Everyone is welcome and no commitment is necessary. Contact with questions and for location.

Men’s Fall Potluck Supper
Friday, October 6, 7 p.m., Upper Hall
All are welcome. Bring a dish to share (appetizer, main dish, salad or dessert) and beverage of your choice. Contact with questions.

Mindful Yoga — Jess Hicks
Oct. 7, First Saturdays, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Library
Mindful yoga for adults of all ages, abilities, and experience levels. Jess is a registered yoga instructor with a lifetime of practice to share. Just bring a mat, and a twin-sized blanket, and a curious mind.

Difficult Conversations — Rick Hawkins
4 Tuesday sessions – Oct. 10, 24, Nov.14, 28
Learning to successfully work through interpersonal conflict may be the single most important skill for personal, family, and career success. It may also be the most difficult skill to learn and do well. We will focus on how to approach interpersonal conflict from a win-win position so that both peoples’ needs are met and so that the conflict strengthens the relationship rather than weaken it. It is important that participants attend all sessions. Contact Rick to register –

For most of us, our relationships with others are one of the things we value most. We spend a lot of time in relationships. Misunderstandings, impasses, and conflicts are inevitable. Learning to successfully work through interpersonal conflict may be the single most important skill for personal, family, and career success. It may also be the most difficult skill to learn and do well.

The focus of this workshop will be on the skills needed to have difficult conversations with significant others, friends, peers, parents, children, and people you work with, including your boss. It is important that participants attend all sessions.

Although not essential, participants will get more out of the workshop if they have read Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen.

Next Chapter — Rick Hawkins
Monday, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m., Conference Room
The Next Chapter group will consider major emotional, social, and spiritual issues for those of us who are either considering retirement or are in a major transition. We will explore our hopes, fears, losses, gains, surprises, barriers, and struggles throughout these transitions. Monthly on the third Monday from October – June. Contact Rick to participate

Belmont UU Alliance Lunch & Program: Armenian Museum of America Tour
Wednesday, October 18, 2017; 12:00 PM lunch in the First Church Upper Gathering Hall and 1:15 PM Tour
All men and women are invited to join us on Wednesday, October 18 at noon for the Alliance lunch and program. Bring a sandwich — soup, fruit and dessert will be provided. After lunch we will carpool to the Museum. The suggested donation for the meal is $2.

Our guided tour of the Armenian Museum of America will begin at 1:15 p.m. at 65 Main St, Watertown. The Museum has extensive exhibits of the artifacts, history and culture of the Armenian people. A donation of $3 per person is requested. If you would like payment assistance or have any questions, please contact Pat Hawkins at or call 617-489-2058. RSVP to Janice Zazinski at, or 617-484-1054 (ext. 10).

Social Action News

Beyond Ferguson: Bridging Class, Cultural and Racial Separations — Social Action Committee
Sunday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m., Library (Last Sundays)
Please join members of the Social Action Committee, the Belmont Religious Council, Belmont Against Racism, the Belmont police department and graduates of YouthBuild as we continue our discussion about how to end racism in Belmont and in the wider world.

Belmont Serves
The Social Action Committee is joining with the Belmont Religious Council and other houses of worship in our town to participate in Belmont Serves on Monday, October 9th. First Church will be hosting the event this year. Volunteers are needed to assist with registration as well as for kitchen assistance. Please contact Priscilla Cobb

Nancy Davis will be leading a clean-up brigade around public areas of Belmont, including trash pick-up, yard waste clean-up and pruning of shrubs. She recommends folks to come with eye protection, long sleeves and pants, and water. Bring along hand pruners, loping shears or rakes, if you have them. Brown bags and plastic bags for trash and recycling would be appreciated.

2017 Raise Up Massachusetts Signature Drive
Aims to have this question on the ballot:

  • raise the minimum wage to $15.00/hour
  • increase paid medical leave to 16 weeks for family members/caregivers of those with serious health problems and for families with newborns
  • increase paid medical leave to 24 weeks for a seriously ill individual and for service members

Each Sunday at coffee hour, from now through November, the Social Action Committee will be collecting signatures from Massachusetts registered voters who support these policies.

More information on this initiative can be found on the bulletin boards in the building and also at the website,

Artisans Wanted for Social Action Gift Fair
First Church’s Social Action Committee is seeking artisans from the First Church community who would like to offer their work for sale at this year’s social action gift fair on December 3.

Participation will allow you to market your work at the fair while at the same time supporting the work of the Social Action Committee’s projects by sharing the proceeds in a 50/50 split.

If you’d like to be considered, please submit a letter of application by October 20 with photos of your work to the Social Action Holiday Gift Fair Committee, c/o Sara Oaklander ( and we will be happy to consider your participation as we seek to put together a good mix of offerings for sale at the fair. Thank you!

In the Community

Daring Democracy at Belmont Books, Sept. 28
Join Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen at Belmont Center’s new Belmont Books, on Thursday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. for a discussion of Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, which has been selected as this year’s UU Common Read. More information at

Making Affordable Housing A Reality: October 29
The FCB community is invited to the Tri-Community Coalition to End Homelessness’ Round Table Discussion on affordable housing in the Belmont, Waltham, and Watertown area.

  • Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 1:30 – 4 p.m.
  • St. Luke Lower Church Hall, 132 Lexington Street, Belmont
  • Featured Keynote Speakers:
    • Rachel Heller, CHAPA & Belmont Housing Trust
    • Jesse Kanson-Benanev, A Better Cambridge

Speaking by Heart: The Art of Speaking Without a Manuscript
November 5 at The Rowe Center
Are you a pastor, an activist, or someone yearning to communicate with greater effectiveness? Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or you’re about to face your first audience, or even if you’re preparing to speak at a family gathering, do you have a feeling that you could be a better speaker — if only you knew how? Information and registration at

Among Us

The FCB community is invited to the Service of Ordination for Charlotte Lehmann at the First Universalist Church in Auburn, Maine

  • October 28, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
  • 169 Pleasant Street, Auburn, Maine 04210
  • Reception to follow in the church vestry.
  • All religious professionals are invited to process; please arrive by 2 p.m.
  • RSVP to:; email Charlotte for lodging information.

Belmont Food Pantry

First Church members staff the opening of the Belmont Food Pantry on the second Tuesday of every month. There will be a sign-up table after today’s service to recruit volunteers for the months of October through January. Volunteers work for about 90 minutes, 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Please stop by the sign-up table in the Gathering Hall after Sunday services to volunteer to help out one evening during the upcoming months.

Won’t be at church on Sunday? You can sign up on line using this Sign-Up Genius Link: Questions? E-mail

Grow Clinic!

This week marks the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. “It’s never OK to not have enough to eat,” says Dr. Deborah Frank, Grow Clinic founder. “Anyone fasting on Yom Kippur knows how difficult it is to go one day without food. Try to go to school and learn algebra like that,” she says to a Boston Globe reporter.

  • Pick up a food list for shopping or bring a Special Request: September and October:  Protein Power!!! (peanut butter, canned tuna or chicken, canned stews, infant strained chicken/beef/turkey)

Food: One of the Most Important Medicines

Caring Connection

The Caring Connection provides support to members of our community who need short-term help. Please let us know if you or someone you know would benefit from our support. Contact Laurie Graham at or Janice at the Church, 617-484-1054, ext. 10.

Lay Pastoral Care Team

The Lay Pastoral Care Team works with and supports the senior minister in reaching out to members and friends of the First Church who are adjusting to change, loss, illness or death. We share in moments of celebration and happiness. We reach out to those who are unable to get out and who would like a visit. Please contact us through the Web site or the church office if we might be of help or comfort.

Ways to connect with the First Church in Belmont.

UU actions, events & resources

Next issue: Friday, September 29

Please send your submissions to by noon on Wednesday, September 27. Items may be edited for space and clarity.

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